Last night someone shared this blog about how lonely motherhood can be and it’s true it’s sometimes one of the loneliest and hardest jobs you’ll ever do and yet we’re all afraid to admit this, as of saying it out loud means we’re a terrible mother that doesn’t love our child when actually the cause of this loneliness is quite often the complete opposite.
I was already lonely before I became a single mum, I was hiding a lot of things that had been and were going on from friends and family and finally getting the strength to walk away was frightening and daunting. I was scared of feeling more alone. I was going to be bringing up my daughter alone, I was for the foreseeable future facing my life alone. I had to leave, I’ve said this many times before, the reason for leaving out weighed any amount of loneliness or other negative impacts of ending the marriage, but that doesn’t mean those negatives weren’t hard.
Truth is though, I’m never really alone. I have baby P, she’s with me and she’s great company. I need her as much as she needs me, just in different ways. My cousin who’s also experienced life as a single mum told me this a while back and it took a long time for it to sink in. She’s my companion and my friend, she’s there with me through everything. She puts her arm around me when she senses I’m not ok despite the smile and facade I put on for her, she knows me already and can sense my emotions. She tells me to stop with her little hand out stretched if she senses an underlying negative emotion and cuddles me. She looks up and smiles at me all the time, telling me through her sparkly eyes that she’s got my back.
Kids make the best company, we do all sorts together and now I’m broken up from school for the summer we’ve 6 weeks of adventures together. Ok sometimes the relationship is one sided and is trying at times (lord knows how I’ve so much patience). This is just an age thing though as all activities have to be instigated, organised, paid for and cleaned up by me, as the parent I have to take the lead and control, issue the discipline, care and routine, however we join in them together. We do them as a pair, we make memories together, we talk, laugh and play together, we get messy, we’re in it together.
Now don’t get me wrong, I need adult conversation and company regularly too, I’d go insane if my only conversations were with my almost two year old about Bing Bunny, Wissper and naming every item in the room! The point I’m making is altering your perspective about being alone with your children, a friend often invites me to different social events and has commented about me not having to be alone when not at work on the weekends, to which I thought, “but I’m not, I’ve got little miss P” it was then that I truly realised that it had clicked and I knew I was never really alone.
So instead of saying I need some company, I phrase it as needing adult company or adult conversation, as needing time out of the house or time spent with friends, time with a glass of wine or cocktail in a non-child friendly environment. I’ve stopped referring to it as needing a break, I don’t need a break from my child, it’s just nice for us both to have time apart so that we value our time together even more.
That said, evenings sometimes can be tough, when toddler P is in bed and I can come down and settle, that is when the real loneliness can set it. When you’d normally spend time sans child with your spouse or partner, watching tv, talking about your day, having a gin or sharing a vino. However, I once again altered my perspective, I did have this idyllic situation in my marriage so what I was missing was the idea of what I wanted. So instead of feeling lonely and wishing I had a partner to sit with me doing the filmset picture perfect married couple part, I focused on what I wanted my evenings to be. I now use this time to do the things I can’t do when madam P is awake.
When at work I use the time to do my school work, marking, lesson planning, admin and action planning. I use it to write these blogs and reflect on how far I’ve come and what I need help with. I chat to friends and family on the phone or over text. I have friends over for a cheeky gin and gossip. I watch tv-real tv like action films with fighting and swearing in or murder mysteries and cheesy sitcoms. I love cooking and baking, being crafty, sewing and cross stitch and although it’s a fun pastime with my little lady, there’s a lot to be said for doing this without an almost 2 year old hanging off you asking “what’s neeeexxxxxtt?” I also read and again I mean proper read, like books in my kindle, blogs and articles and not the Shark in the Park or Bright Stanley. So for all I’m “alone” I’m actually now enjoying it, it’s me time.
Altering my perspective has worked wonders, she’s there for me to enjoy (when she’s not being put on the naughty step) and that she’s the reason for getting up with a smile on face. She’s the reason I am now alone, she’s the reason I chose to make myself happier. I had to forget the notion that being alone was a bad thing and focus on being happy. She’s the best company ever and has reminded me that the only person responsible for your happiness is you.
On that note, we’ve now to get dressed, we’ve a play date to go on, there’s some adult company and conversation with my name on!